Today marks the final day of another year. For the last post of a dying year, let's examine the last gasp of a dying brand. This is a 1958 Packard Hawk.
In 1954, Packard entered into a deal to purchase Studebaker. It seemed like an odd combination but Studebaker wanted the luxury carmaker's money and Packard wanted Studebaker's mass-market dealership network. The ultimate plan was to merge Packard, Studebaker, Nash and Hudson to form a larger conglomerate that would have been competitive with the Big Three, but it was not to be. When the big merger fell through, Studebaker-Packard Corporation and Nash-Kelvinator/Hudson, now American Motors, were left to struggle by themselves. American Motors shed the Nash and Hudson brands, relying on the new Rambler marque and a focus on economy. Studebaker-Packard attempted to cover both ends of the market with regular Studebakers and luxury Packards. The Packard name and reputation had been waning for a long time, ever since the 1930s and '40s when the company introduced low-priced, smaller cars to bring new buyers into the brand. After 1956, Packard ran out of cash for new models. In their final two years, Packards were chromed-out Studebakers with a few visual changes using fiberglass and/or leftover parts. Buyers weren't fooled. By 1958 the writing was on the wall and Packard was doomed.
'56 Packard Patrician I featured a couple of years ago, the last "real" Packard. This Packardbaker is one I'd been wanting to find for a long time.